E & D Associates had a great run. After 25 years, Ed Drozda, The Small Business Doctor is closing his practice. During this time, Ed has helped over 750 businesses and solopreneurs build the business they had dreamed of. He has aided many more in their efforts to choose the correct path, to forge strategic alliances and to create opportunities that brought their goals to fruition. When asked about retirement, Ed says he is now looking forward to enjoying time with his wife and working on the book he always wanted to write.
This is a business obituary, though retirement is not on the near horizon for me. The business obituary is an exercise I've employed on many occasions, with clients and groups of business folks. The exercise is very powerful because it creates a vision that depicts the culmination of your business efforts. Why, you ask do I want to think that far ahead? The simple answer- because it matters to you now and it will matter to you then. Now is the time to take steps to ensure that you'll be happy when you look back at all that you've done in business.
When the time comes to sell or close your business there's sure to be a lot of things on your mind. Among those things, 1) the reputation you and the business have achieved and 2) what you've accomplished, will be particularly important. When you get to this point, the work will be over. The fruits of your labor will be laid out before you. All the goals and dreams you had will now have come to their conclusion.
Looking at your goals today is far different than the postmortem view. Today, you see possibility and that possibility drives you. You're thinking in the moment, responding to the moment; you're making and executing plans. But a myriad of speed bumps, road blocks and challenges will obscure your ability to see far ahead. As these obstacles present, your plans change accordingly but your fundamental life goals have not changed. The business obituary exercise essentially forces you to step outside the moment and to embrace your larger goal; your life's goal. Incorporating these goals into your day to day business plans will ensure that all your efforts are fulfilling now as well as in the future. (And when the future gets here, IT WILL MATTER!)
The business obituary exercise is not a substitute for strategic planning or responding effectively to changes around you. This exercise is an investment in your future, a future that is at the mercy of the action you take today. This exercise provides a glimpse of where you want to be; that vision draws you forward, unlike the short term goals that tend to push you along.
A business obituary? A lot more than the end of the line if you ask me.